Sunday 15th September 2019 – Slow curry and fast repartee by the sea.

To Bexhill-on-Sea for one of Mr. and Mrs. MAE’s regular sojourns to the De la Warr Pavilion. The main attraction on this Sunday evening was an appearance by everyone’s favourite transgender comic Eddie Izzard. Locals and regular readers will know that Bexhill has a surprisingly good and varied restaurant culture – previous very positive diary entries have included South American (Sobremasa, 14th March), Belgian (Bistro 45, 19th December), and Italian (Trattoria Italiana, 5 October) meals. On this particular evening we thought we would try the smart looking Mowgli Indian Bistro and Bar at 41-43 the Marina, on the seafront just along from the DLWP. We haven’t had much success recently with Indian restaurants in Eastbourne, finding that, too often, the sauces on what should be very different dishes look and taste very similar. In some cases this may due to a reliance on bulk bought sauces rather than using the individual fresh spices that are vital in making delicious Indian food. Well good news and less good at the Mowgli. On arrival only two other tables were occupied (well, it was 6 p.m. on a Sunday) yet we were shown to the darkest corner of the restaurant’s second room. After a short time we asked to move to a better lit table in the entrance room and were accommodated, though this was near a very noisy table of four where much gin and tonic was being taken - maybe the waiter was trying to help us to avoid them. Well, after this (minor) unfortunate start, the food was very good. Dishes were individually spiced with high quality ingredients. Two simple starters, Samosas and Sheek Kebab, were perfect and came with interesting fresh relishes. Goan King Prawn was as tasty as it sounded – large succulent prawns “cooked with onions, fresh garlic, ginger, green peppers, green chilli and a hint of lime”, not too saucy with plenty of all of those ingredients. Ditto, Murgh Hyderabadhi, made with large tender chicken fillets “with seeds and herbs, slowly cooked in a thick onion sauce”. Pilau rice and tandoori roti were equally good. BUT service was very slow. I know, cooking of that standard takes longer but we arrived around 6 and didn’t leave until 7.40 having had no time to consider desserts or coffee with the show starting at 8.00. Only four tables were occupied. I’ve looked through the very positive reviews on TripAdvisor and find few complaints of slow service, so perhaps it was a one off. So only ***, when the food deserved higher. A pity.

So on to the Pavilion. A packed house with some young folk but mostly the usual Bexhill (and Eastbourne) spectateurs d’un certain age, not by any means put off by Izzard’s transgender persona. Eddie Izzard is a regular at the DLWP, having grown up in Bexhill. He regularly gives the proceeds from these shows to the venue. I saw him do one of these benefit gigs back in 2016 – hilarious. Reviewing him accurately is almost impossible. He produces what seem like stream of consciousness monologues which are actually carefully thought out. This show was the start of the British section an extensive tour of Europe called Wunderbar, in which he performs in several languages. He gave us excerpts in both French and German to compare and contrast. As an atheist he speculates on what God would be like if He did exist and turned out to be a marmot called Kenny. The first half of the evening is a history of the World “from the Big Bang until last Tuesday” with various crazy stopping off points including William the Conqueror exploding after his death, which turns out to be true . There is much anthropomorphism. There are tigers saying grace before they go hunting. He describes eating a whole bowl of cake mix. In the second half there are more personal touches referring to his exploits running multiple marathons and how he is now doing long distance swimming accompanied by a large jellyfish called………..Kenny. His mother (Dorothy) died when he was six years old. His father Harold died last year. Izzard doesn’t tell jokes as such. The only one he told was his father’s and it was a good one. MAE doesn’t tell jokes either………….oh, alright then.

A rabbit goes into a butcher’s shop.

Rabbit: Have you got any carrots?

Butcher: No, this is a butcher’s. We don’t sell carrots.

Next day the rabbit is back.

Rabbit: Have you got any carrots?

Butcher: I told you, this is a butcher’s. WE….DON’T…..SELL….CARROTS!

Day three, the rabbit is back again.

Rabbit: Have you got any carrots?

Butcher: Look, I told you we’re a butcher’s. We don’t sell carrots, and if you come in here again asking for carrots, I’ll nail you to that wall by your ears.

The rabbit leaves looking crestfallen.

Days four and five - no sign of the rabbit.

Day six, who should come through the door but the rabbit.

Rabbit: Have you got any…..NAILS?

Butcher: No of course we haven’t got any nails. This is a butcher’s!


Izzard is a long-time member of the Labour Party and briefly served on the National Executive Committee in 2018. He recently announced he is planning to become an MP and that this tour may be his last, for some time at least. As I write a general election is expected quite soon so he may have missed his chance this time around. Either way though if you enjoy surreal comedy without the “blue” material that so many stand-ups feel compelled to put into their live shows catch him/her while you can. The Wunderbar Tour continues until 16th November.


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